Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Time to get moving!

I have never been what you would call a gym rat, a fitness queen, or even a dedicated exerciser.  I have belonged to gyms and fitness clubs here and there throughout my life.  I was active at the local health club when my parents were members, going to aerobics, doing nautilus, and playing bad racquetball.  I went to the fitness center at college, more out of boredom than any urge to get fit.

I had stacks of exercise tapes (remember VHS tapes?  I had the whole Kathy Smith collection!) and then a slew of DVDs that I would do in my tiny apartments until I got so bored I just couldn't do them any more. I have tried line dancing, modern dance, aerobics and yoga, belly dancing and pilates. The problem is, even though I really don't like the classes, I get bored when I am working out alone.

So several years ago, before my recent life shift and when I still lived in my adopted home city, I decided to join a gym.  I needed something to do after work besides drink wine and watch old movies, and I was tired of being out of shape and exhausted all the time.  I travel a lot, and it's really hard to climb towers and castles and thousands of stairs when you're not fit.

I had no interest in a public swimming pool (ick), or in yoga and zumba and aerobic classes.  I didn't want a family setting; I have kids at work all day long, and I certainly don't want them running around and yelling while I am trying to work out.  And I wanted a place I could feel comfortable, without all the posturing and oiled bodies, or the cliquey girls clubs.  So Planet Fitness seemed perfect.  Cheap ($10 a month!), near by, and just machines and weights.  I joined, and I loved it.  I went several times a week.  I lost weight and started to get back in shape.

Then my life took a completely unexpected and wonderful turn, and I found myself moving, engaged, married and settled in the span of just a few years.  The only problem is, I fell into the same rut of trying to work out at home and getting bored.  I bought I hand weights, an exercise ball and an elliptical machine.  I brought stacks of DVDs home from the library to try, I borrowed DVDs from friends and streamed workouts on TV.   And let us not forget Wii Fit, sitting there mournfully collecting dust.  I just never stayed with any of it.

And let's face it.  Sitting on the exercise ball, holding the hand weights during Cheers and Fringe and The Doctor and Grimm is great for the posture but not really for much else.

So here we are, three years later; and I am at my heaviest.  I'm uncomfortable and awkward, and I am ready for a change.  I have a spectacular trip in the planning stages (Budapest, Prague, Vienna and Berlin!), and I really want to be fabulous for that. And for myself.  I have some really great clothes that I can't wear anymore.  I refuse to buy any more new clothes until I am back where I want to be (more on that challenge at a later date).

So Planet Fitness, I'm coming back to you.  And I'm bringing the hubby with me this time.   We talked about it and tossed ideas around, and decided it's the perfect blend of close by and cheap and it has just what we both want (the machines for me and the weights for him; plus no kids!).  We're heading there after work tonight to join, and this time I am determined to make it work.  But first, I'd better get a new pair of sneakers....

Stay tuned for occasional updates on this, but I don't see myself becoming a dedicated fitness blogger.  I'm much too scatterbrained for that (I am a gemini, after all).

Thanks for listening.

A weekend of relaxed adventure

Girls Day In with Cranford
About two years ago, I started Girls' Day In at our home, The Brambles.  A bunch of my girlfriends come over one Saturday a month (October-May) and we spend the day watching girly movies or BBC miniseries or some such thing, we drink tea and wine, eat the yummiest of foods, chat and relax.
We wear our comfiest clothes, occasionally work on handiwork, and just really enjoy being girls together.
In this over connected, hyper wified world, it's nice to just unplug and relax together with no pressures,
Bailey loves GDI. :)
no expectations and no men.  
Well, except Bailey.  He's a guy, and he's allowed.

Wine and Chocolate Book Club
A few months later, my mom and I got together and started the Wine and Chocolate Book Club.  We gathered a great group of women to read a book and then discuss it (and other things) while drinking wine and eating chocolates and other goodies.  We meet about every six weeks, moving from home to home and from book to book.  It's been a wonderful way to connect with a variety of women with a wide range of reading tastes.   The hostess of the meeting picks the book, and we've read every sort  from the nicest of romances to the strangest of true stories, adventures, tragedies, humor, magic, contemporary and classic.

Camp.  That's all, just Camp.  

So, a few months ago I thought it would be a great idea to get these two groups of fabulous women together in some remote spot and just relax.  I spoke to Mom, and she offered up her Adirondack camp, and voila!  The 1st Annual Girls Weekend Away was born.  And it was beyond even my wildest imaginings.

The weather was perfect, and the fall foliage was just nearing peak.  We had warm days and cool evenings, clear mornings and lots of sunshine for reading and relaxing on the beach.

At the base of Whiteface Mountain
We slowly trickled in and settled in for a lovely fall weekend of girl time.  In total there were 13 of us, a very lucky number.  We ranged in age and experience from just starting out to well established womanhood.  Going in to the weekend we were friends, acquaintances and family members, and I hope we left just a little closer to each other than when we started.  We ate and drank, sang and played music, swam and kayaked, climbed mountains (well, sort of) and leaf peeped.

Kayak selfie photobomb!
Lynn waves from the lake.  Brrr!

Sunrise from a kayak
in the middle of Fern Lake

We watched the sunrise from the middle of the lake and from the shore with coffee, chatted around the bonfire and on the beach, enjoyed a lively book discussion, shared dinners and breakfasts, played games and gave each other facials, relaxed and laughed and loved all weekend long.

Red Wine Facials!

There were card readings and star gazings (so many shooting stars!), dragonflies and bumblebees, loons and otters and ducks and geese, marshmallows and chocolate truffles, crock-pots filled with chili and meatballs and mac and cheese, and too many bottles of wine to count.

We spoke of the light and trivial, of our dreams and disappointments, of sadness and of joy.  We told stories and told jokes, and we all learned a new song.  Well, we learned the chorus of a new song, and we all sang it together in the bright sunshine on the shore.

My happiest of happy places
It was a cathartic and rejuvenating weekend at my most happiest of places, and it was the catalyst for me starting to write again.  I hope this is the start of an annual tradition.  There are a few things I am extraordinarily happy to have started, and GDI and the W&C Book Club are at the top of that list.  I think it's important for women to get together, to unplug from the world together; we need to be able to connect with each other with no pressure and no judgement and nothing but freedom to be ourselves.  

We need to be able to share dreams and hopes and tears and laughter and stories and songs.  And chocolate.
Let's never forget the chocolate.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Since last we met....

Since last we met.   I love those words.  You know why?  Because it means I am writing again.  I've missed it.  It's been a long time since I set fingertips to keyboard, and I've missed you!  (Hello?  Is anybody out there?)

So very many things have changed in my life since we last met.  I've been a very busy little beaver (hmmm, okay, not so little, but we'll get to that at a soon-but-later date).  Let's start with a brief catch-you-up.

Two years and some months ago, I moved back to my hometown (sort of) and I still work in my adopted city, which means I now have an hour commute each way every day.  That can be exhausting, and I often get to practice my most vulgar of vocabulary on the drive (I'm talking to you person in the silver car who drives slowly at the solid line and speeds right up when it's a dashed line with no oncoming traffic); but I also get to see the loveliness of Central New York change with the seasons, and I am listening to some fantastic books (thanks to you, Audible! and they didn't even pay me to say that).  I moved back because my boyfriend-at-the-time and I bought a house.  Me, as a responsible co-homeowner, just imagine!

And then, a month later, I got engaged.  At the Sterling Renaissance Festival.  On stage.  Totally shocked and so very happy!  *blissful sigh*

And then a year later, I got married!  At the Sterling Renaissance Festival.  In the graveyard!   *more blissful sighs*

It's been a whirlwind of changes, and even though they are all positive changes and Very Good Things, change is draining and exhilarating and tiring and confusing.  Now here we are, a year and a month or so after the wedding;  I am a settled (ha!) and respectable (settle down now, peanut gallery) married lady (Sadie, can you hear me?).  

I am still blissfully sighing.  But I am feeling somewhat lost in the shuffle, too.  I need to make some positive changes in my life, for me, to get back to the self-confident and balanced person I was when this all started.  Nothing mind bending or earth shattering, but small personal changes.  So, here I am, back on the interwebs (I think I said that already).   Thankfully not with the 52 Small Changes book.  As much as I enjoy the concept, I keep getting stalled at just about the same place.  So I'm done with that for now; and while I make no promises, I am not planning to subject you to that again.  You're welcome.

I do still have the never-ending goal of simplifying my life.  That's not easy to do when you become all entwined with another person.  I have let a lot of things slip by the wayside (like my waistline and my writing and sometimes my sanity), but I have become determined to get them back (maybe not the sanity).  I've recently been making some small shifts, and I have plans for some larger ones in the foreseeable future.  One small step for me, one huge leap for my household.  Or something like that. 

Anyway, I am starting with my writing, and I am starting now.  It's a Monday, and Mondays are a great day to start things, right?  It's also a new season.  Autumn.  I just love Autumn, and I always feel energized in the early fall.  The leaves are changing, the air is cooling, the sun is starting to disappear for longer each day.  And I am determined to ward off SAD and boredom and depression and other winter beasties before they can even get a foothold.

I am going to subject you to writing experiments.  Recipes and kitchen adventures.  Garden dreams and reality.  Gripes about work, or home, or traffic, or myself.  Maybe some pictures (but you can mostly find those over on my other vanity site Adventures of a Travel Addicted Librarian), maybe some videos.  Book reviews are a big possibility, too (you can see what I am reading now in the GoodReads box in the right column --->>).  Travel plans and worldwide adventures, too.  Lists, minutia, funnies and tragedies, opinions (because we all know I have no lack of those), cool stuff and not-so-cool stuff.  

Mostly I am going to try to just write.  Partly because it's cathartic, partly because I enjoy it, partly because you like to read it (I hope?), and partly because I really need to start doing something other than plopping myself down in front of the NetFlix every night after work.  Don't get me wrong; I adore NetFlix.  And Amazon Instant Video.  And Starz (*waves madly at Jamie Fraser*) and HBO.  But I need to start dosing them out as a treat and not falling back on them as the thing to do every single night.

I hope you enjoy this new direction of my journey.  I am very much looking forward to sharing it with you.  Thanks for listening.

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